EPM advances 2.4GW hydro project, eyes May auction

EPM, the multi-utility that serves Medellín in Colombia's Antioquia department, has submitted the EIS for the 2.4GW Pescadero Ituango hydro project to the environment, housing and territorial development ministry.
The utility holds a 44.4% stake in special purpose company Sociedad Pescadero Ituango set up for the project. Antioquia's development institute IDEA controls 42.4%, Integral 2.3%, Antioquia's departmental government 2.1%, the national government 1.7% and other shareholders 7.1%.

The project is viable according to the technical, economic, environmental and social feasibility study, EPM general manager Juan Felipe Gaviria Gutiérrez said in a statement.

Pescadero Ituango would be built at the mouth of the Ituango river and cost US$2.290bn, boasting a 220m-high dam and creating a 980Mm3 reservoir.

The machine house will boast eight, 336MW Francis-type units, the first of which could begin commercial operations 105 months after the environmental license is secured.

Project advancement is pending the environmental license and financial and market studies, Gaviria said.

"In the 2008-09 period, Sociedad will require capitalization of at least US$52mn, of which US$8mn will be needed urgently for the first months of next year if we want to advance with design contracts for the access roads to the project, the equipment and principal works," he added.

Sociedad Pescadero Ituango plans to participate in next year's power auction. Participation will depend on securing the environmental license and guarantees required by energy regulator CREG, the executive said.

Colombia's mining and energy planning unit UPME in September opened a power generation project studies registry in the lead-up to next year's planned auction for firm power supply, BNamericas reported that month.

State power wholesaler XM on May 5, 2008, will hold the first auction, with winners due to begin supplying power in 2013.

Power demand in Colombia grew 2.6% in October to 4.54TWh compared to the year-ago month. Of all power produced, 79.3% came from hydro, 15.4% from thermo and 5.3% from small-scale plants and cogen.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: December 10, 2007

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